Here’s the thing, though. Just like the tone set by those WWII propaganda films, the tone of this museum was definitely a nationalistic one. There were lots of planes dedicated to heroic flights and battles that really glorified our fly boys. There was even a kiddie section of the museum where children could sit in planes and have pretend dogfights with each other. None of which is necessarily bad by its own measure. After all, I wanted to pretend to shoot down pretend Nazis, in part, because the heroic atmosphere of the museum inspires those sorts of feelings. And no one wants Nazis, right?
The problem is, this sort of presentation has a tendency to make the real-life killing and deaths from real-life wars seem sanitary and abstract. It makes the visitor forget that shooting down planes in real life means that human beings will plummet to the earth from the sky and die. The machines may be modern, but the dying is the same as it ever was. And this fact deserves remembering, too.
From my mother's sleep
I fell into the State
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from the dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.
-- Randall Jarrell, "The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner"